Egypt was a great organised state, with an effective state apparatus, already 5000 years ago.
Since then, apparently the system has kept building-up and get more complicated, so much so that today’s Egyptian bureaucracy is unequalled in its complexity.
When we arrived last thursday, the port Ghalib Marina office, the only one in Egypt which is allowed to perform the entry formalities for yachties without having to pay expensive agents (or face the complexity and baksheesh-seeking of the system on one’s own…), told us that we could not get our cruising permits before nexct sunday, as the relevant office, located in Hurghada, is closed on Friday and Saturday!…
We are all annoyed, because the favourable weather window is forecasted to disappear by next monday, and a departure by Sunday may not be possible because of the weather, but there is nothing we can do and then set ourselves at enjoying Port Ghalib which is a very artificial tourist place, but nice and very welcoming, and graced by several good restaurants, albeit a bit expensive.
Sunday morning comes, and the forecasts show that the bad weather may delay until monday night, so we all run to the office to get our papers and be gone, but we are told that the office in Hurghada has no paper for their fax machine (!!!…), and nobody knows by when our papers will be available, maybe later today, maybe tomorrow!!!
After a couple of hours of gentle pressure, we have to give up and accept that we will quite likely not leave until the next weather window; some crews even get booked on trips to the interior for the next couple of days.
Then, at 15:00 hours, the surprise: the papers have arrived!! Some have given up by now, but 5 or 6 boats decide to leave and get the hell out of here while we can, and if the weather will become too heavy we can always seek refuge in a marsa somewhere!
Now it’s monday morning, we are few hours from arriving in Hurghada Marina, and we are motoring in flat calm!! After all, it’s been better this way, the delay spared us several hours of windward sailing during yesterday’s afternoon!!
The ancient Pharaohs might have been right afterall….